Transitioning from HTPC to HTPCs + Media Server - starting help please - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 Old 11-13-2011, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
satyan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'm trying to start the setup of a media server, where I can house my movie collection (xvid, 720p, 1080p), music, and photos. Today, I store all of this in one big machine, with 4 HDDS, each 2 TB - today I've got about 3-4TB of data.

The problem is that this big unit sits in a home-entertainment area where I don't have great ventilation (it's inside a wall unit). I'd rather put one small machine in the unit (probably an Assassin HTPC) , and keep a server elsewhere. Plus, the big unit today is a bit unstable (not 100% sure why), so I'd rather keep the storage HDDs separately, and ideally in a more reliable storage environment.

I'm new to media storage, and I've spent a couple hours trying to go through the 228 page thread Guide to Building a Media Storage Server . But it's a little daunting, and really am not 100% sure where to start. I had a few questions:

1) Is RAID relevant for me? What is 'Unraid'?

2) Does anyone (like Assassin) sell pre-built media storage servers, where I can install my HDDs, plug it into the home network, and have it run? I've read a bit about the Synology DS411 - would that suit my needs?

3) In terms of priorities for me, it would be: 1) ease of setup (I love tinkering but don't have the time - readymade of high quality makes most sense for me) 2) speed of access (read / write) across the home network, 3) reliability / safety of data, 4) power consumption efficiency

4) Should I use Windows Server? FreeNAS? Based on my priorities, what would you suggest?

Apologies for the vague question in advance. If someone can point me to a previous post - or a place in a post - that goes through this well, would be great. I love to tinker with these setups, and have been doing so with my HTPC for years now, but don't have a lot of time for it, so something (like the Assassin HTPCs), where not a lot of work is req'd from my end, would be awesome.

Thanks in advance!
Satyan
satyan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 Old 11-13-2011, 09:12 PM
Senior Member
 
ktrdsl23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 220
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I'm probably going to get an Assassin HTPC in the next few months. I also mentioned to Ben the fact that I'd be interested in a Media Server as well. He said it was on their to-do list but likely wouldn't be tackled until sometime later next year. I'd recommend expressing your interest to him/them. I'm sure their timetable will be based on the level of interest.
ktrdsl23 is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 11-13-2011, 10:00 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Puwaha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,122
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by satyan View Post

1) Is RAID relevant for me? What is 'Unraid'?

There is a lot of information to cover in these questions to answer simply. RAID can help you recover from one or two hard drive failures depending on how you set it up. But it can be daunting for new users to setup and maintain.

If you want a set it and forget it type product, then an unRAID, FreeNAS, or Windows Home Server build is your best bet. I would lean towards Windows Home Server to begin with and if you outgrow it, then you can migrate to something more robust.


Quote:


2) Does anyone (like Assassin) sell pre-built media storage servers, where I can install my HDDs, plug it into the home network, and have it run? I've read a bit about the Synology DS411 - would that suit my needs?

Yes, pre-built NAS devices will suit your needs. But if you go beyond say 8TB of disk space needs, then you probably should consider building your own server as it can get pretty expensive to buy pre-built.


Quote:


3) In terms of priorities for me, it would be: 1) ease of setup (I love tinkering but don't have the time - readymade of high quality makes most sense for me) 2) speed of access (read / write) across the home network, 3) reliability / safety of data, 4) power consumption efficiency

Windows Home Server then. There are pre-built products on the market that use it. The only downfall to WHS is that you will probably want to add in one of the hard drive pooling and protection add-ins like DriveBender, StableBit, or FlexRAID to protect your data. For some reason, Microsoft took this feature out of WHS 2011, but is perfect for home users. If you can find a copy of the original WHS, bulid your own machine... throw as many hard drives as you like at it... that should more than suit your needs.


Quote:


4) Should I use Windows Server? FreeNAS? Based on my priorities, what would you suggest?

I like the original version of Windows Home Server. FreeNAS and unRAID, are fairly easy to work with, but I would reserve them for when you want to build big.

For now, just starting out... you can use Windows XP, Vista, 7, etc. and just turn on file sharing. If you want more than just simple file sharing then I'd look into WHS. If you are looking to build a big server then I'd look into FreeNAS or unRAID.
Puwaha is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 11-14-2011, 06:09 PM
Senior Member
 
SUBCOB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 328
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
UnRaid has a forum you can check out, and there are a couple forum members that do sell setups. I have been using UnRaid for over 2 years and am very happy with it. If your current needs are small you can use UnRaid on up to 3 drives(1 parity 2 storage) for free. The demands as far as system is small if you are looking at just streaming and storing your media, and is booted from a USB thumb drive.
SUBCOB is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 11-15-2011, 11:22 PM
Member
 
contentedbloke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 112
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I too have been weighing unRaid vs a pre-built NAS box like the DS411 or the new Netgear NV+ 2. These boxes also have some thing similar to unRaid called SHR / X-Raid. So, with the software being pretty similar, it comes down to whether I want to take the effort of building my own system from scratch or just buy a pre-built dedicated system. For a 4-bay, solution yielding a maximum of 6GB storage + 2 TB parity (assuming all 2TB drives), the cost of unRaid vs a prebuilt NAS could be comparable. The user interface and learning curve is also a big differentiator. For a simple setup, vanilla unRaid might be enough. But tinkering requires some knowledge of linux I guess.

So it all comes down to the amount of effort one is ready to put in to build and maintain the box.

BTW, I think unRaid allows you to spin down drives that aren't being used. Not sure if SHR or x-raid does that too.
contentedbloke is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 11-16-2011, 07:21 AM
Member
 
AMenard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I personnaly prefer FlexRaid to UnRaid since it doesn't required a change in your file system. It also work with network share and external drives and the upcoming version support both snapshot and schedule mode.

You can even sync at the file or folder level...

Alain Menard
www.lacrimosae.net
AMenard is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off